and 1980’s boomtown. Ann Arbornoffers both in a big way. But it isngrowing up. It’s due for a new pair ofnshoes and pants soon — and howzaboutna suit and tie this time around?nWilliam Rice is a graduate studentnin English at the University ofnMichigan.nLetter From Myselfnby Juliana Geran PilonnA Plea for ChoicenIt is heartening to learn that economicngrowth is largest in countries where thengovernment is least meddlesome. Suchninformation is of great significance tonthe utilitarian argument for liberty, for itnhurts the Marxist where he bleeds thenmost: in showing the material superioritynof capitalism, which is constantlyndenied in the Communist press.nTo Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, however,nthis is rather beside the point. Tonhim, and to people like me, efficiencynand abundance do not provide a sufficientnargument for capitalism; in fact,nthey may even serve to obscure thenmore basic elements of the system ofnnatural liberty.nI find it disturbing, for example, tonread that Friedrich von Hayek believesnthat “the whole argument for freedom,nor the greater part of the argument fornfreedom, rests on the fact of our ignorance.”nHayek’s line of thinking hasnsevere limitations. For clearly he is lednto admit that “if we were all-wise, or ifnany one person among us were allwise,nthe argument for freedom wouldnbecome very weak indeed.” This impliesnthat freedom is merely a means tonother ends, such as prosperity andnscientific knowledge, even “the commonngood.”nTo be sure, the argument fromnignorance is brought to the defense ofnthe market by Adam Smith in hisnWealth of Nations. It is also importantnto William Godwin, an early Britishnanarchist who, in his Enquiry ConcerningnPolitical Justice and Its Influencenon Morals and Happiness (1793),nreasoned as follows: since no man cannknow everything, and all men are fallible,nwe must repudiate centralizedngovernment. But here Godwin goes anstep further (and I with him): even ifnsomeone were found who was “allwise,”nthat superman would still havenno right to coerce others. “Gountries,”nwrites Godwin, “exposed to the perpetualninterference of decrees, exhibitnwithin their boundaries the mere phantomsnof men.” Respect for privatenjudgment is not subordinate to prosperitynor indeed to anything else, nor isnit merely a useful device. It is a preconditionnof human dignity and thereforenof our self-respect.nSolzhenitsyn attacks excessive liberalismnor what he calls “anthropocentricity,nwith man seen as the centernof everything that exists,” and thenconcept that “the basis of governmentnand social science … could be definednas rationalistic humanism or humanisticnautonomy: the proclaimednand enforced autonomy of man fromnany higher force above him.” I disagreenwith the latter part of his argument.nMy credo rests on a commitment tonthe autonomy of man, on his individualitynas the locus of choice, and thennecessary condition for any exercise ofnvirtue.nAutonomy is no easy task: to choosenis to suffer the consequences of ignorance,nthe agony of indecision, thenresponsibility of defeat. To love all mennis possible for a Ghrist alone — I intendnnot at all to feel for my neighbor what Infeel for my children, and I shall notnexpect him to do the impossible either.nBut the emotions I have for him willndepend on who he is — which is to say,non what Tie does.nFor what is autonomy if not thenself-definition of man expressing hisnvery dignity in the tantalizing, mystifyingnmarketplace that is his daily action?nWithout autonomy, man is nothing.nStripped of his soul — or, if you prefer,nhis will — God Himself will not be ablento rescue him, for nothing will be left,nor nothing but name, rank, and serialnnumber.nThe present-day college graduate, anveteran of beer bashes and TV journalism,nmay have some difficulty understandingnwhat Solzhenitsyn means byn”the forces of Evil [which] have begunntheir decisive offensive.” Moreover, asnour self-appointed wizards in the medianremind Solzhenitsyn that he isnreally a 19th-century man and wouldnreally be much happier under the tsar,nnnwe tend to overlook the simpler sentencesnin his speech that would ringnclear to the unobstructed ear.nWhen he warns that “America itselfnwould fall prey to a genocide similar tonthe one perpetrated in Gambodia innour days,” he speaks literally. In then60’s we said it wouldn’t happen. Overna million murders later (three million?ndo the numbers fail us?), we are stillnunwilling to cry out to the skies and thenmurders continue — innocent men,nwomen, and children. How can onenblame Solzhenitsyn for finding hisnmetaphors in the vocabulary of eschatology,nwhen no medieval imaginationncould have matched what is only a jetnflight away from the headquarters ofnThe Washington Post — the now merelynembarrassing Holocaust of SouthnAsia.nIf Solzhenitsyn reminds us of God,nit is perhaps because he has looked thenDevil in the eye. What he has seen isnnot merely the terror of death, forndeath has its element of grace, remindingnus as it does that ours is a mostntemporary gift, one that we must guardnwell and use tenderly. It is perhapsnbecause only by speaking of God cannhe tell us of his love for man. It is notnjust capitalism, Adam Smith’s “systemnof natural freedom,” that is at stakenhere, but all we have ever held sacred,nall we are. We may never be able tonlove again.nJuliana Geran Pilon is director of ThenNational Forum Foundation.nEverybody talksnabout the weather.nNow you can donsometmng about it.nGlobal temperatures are rising.n1988 was one of the warmest years onnrecord. Instead of talking about it, youncan help by planting trees. To find outnmore, write Global ReLeaf, AmericannForestry Association, P.O. Box 2000,nDept. GR2, Washington, DC 20013.nG1®5ALnRMLEAFnYou can make a world of difference.nJULY 1989/43n